2021 Retrospective Part Four
SummaryThe Hacknslash by PeredurIndependent games by GrimThe RPG from crowdfunding by Zekkangel
Part 2Highlights of 2021 by GlaystalI will play there again in 2022 by Aragnis
Part 3MMOs by AgahnonManagement and strategy games by SeieiNarrative games by Alandring
Part 4Japanese games by LianaiThe Japanese Games of 2021 by Lianai
Now is the time to take stock of Japanese video games (excluding games Nintendo) and if 2021 was not the busiest, it was no less interesting, with a few titles that even managed to stand out from the crowd and take pride of place among the most significant games. A look back at those who made the year of the Japanese video game.Bandai Namco
Probably the Japanese publisher who surprised the most this year, Bandai Namco especially offered us two games above the rest. First of all Scarlet Nexus, the brain punk action game, a cyberpunk genre, developed jointly with the Tose studio. The game was rather indifferent when it was announced in 2020, but it turned out to be very pleasant to play, especially thanks to its combat system featuring impressive psychic powers. Rewarding us in addition to a quality artistic direction and an edgy soundtrack, Scarlet Nexus has carved out a place of pride for itself in the hearts of gamers.
Then, and this is probably one of the surprises of the Japanese video game of 2021: Tales of Arise. More accustomed to average games due to tight budgets, the Tales of series has finally seen the birth of the episode it has deserved for so many years. Indeed, to celebrate the 25 years of its historic license, Bandai Namco released the heavy artillery between the largely increased budget and a development team made up of veterans, who did not hesitate to brush up on certain mechanics. aging games. In addition, the use of Unreal Engine 4 has pushed back the technical limits hitherto imposed by the in-house graphics engine, which makes Tales of Arise one of the most beautiful J-RPGs of recent years. Results ? One of the games of 2021 and if it is not free from flaws, we can only note its success, both critical and commercial, with the explosion of all license sales records. Hopefully this Tales of Arise will become the benchmark to be surpassed for the next episodes.
Finally, we can mention the Tactical RPG Super Robot Wars 30, anniversary game in a series combining some of the most famous giant robot licenses in Japanese animation. While it is true that we are more of a niche game, it is nonetheless one of the references of the genre and its worldwide release via the Steam version makes it a small event in itself. However, it must be admitted that as an anniversary game, it turned out to be a bit disappointing, missing the opportunity to mark the 30 years of the series by offering a three-star cast and a little effort on the technical aspect, a little dated. Despite everything, there is still a good episode that we can only recommend, even to new players.Capcom
Capcom has not been idle in 2021 and if it was perhaps not as surprised as Bandai Namco, it is nonetheless a major publisher of the archipelago with games that will have made an impression. First of all, the much appreciated Resident Evil Village, which brilliantly continues the cycle launched by Resident Evil VII, even if some criticize it for its unbridled action in its second half. Failing to have a film adaptation to the height, we are still entitled to quality games, phew.
And the publisher did not stop there since he did not release one, but two Monster Hunter this year with first the episode Rise, using the more classic mechanics of episodes on portable consoles. Seeking more to please the early fans, Monster Hunter Rise does not surprise and that is probably what we expected of him, since sales are dizzying. Then it was the turn of Monster Hunter Stories 2, the sequel to the more RPG-focused spin-off and also serving as a gateway to a younger audience. Improving the concept initiated by the first episode, this sequel does not disappoint and reinforces the importance of this series within the Monster Hunter license.Square Enix
As one of the biggest Japanese publishers, Square Enix was inevitably expected this year again and as much to say that the games have blown the hot as much as the cold. The year started off pretty well with Bravely Default 2, the new episode of the “old-fashioned” J-RPG series first released on Nintendo Switch then on PC. Taking the recipe from previous opus without really bringing it any new features, which some have criticized it, Bravely Default 2 does not lack charm and if the version Switch encountered some slowdown issues, he nevertheless managed to satisfy his audience.
Unfortunately, the sequel was less glorious with surely one of the biggest disappointments of the year: Balan Wonderworld. Born from the imagination of Yuji Naka, one of Sonics dad and Nights into Dreams or even ChuChu Rocket !, Balan Wonderworld marked his return as a creator since his departure from Sega in 2006. How disappointed we were when we discovered the game. Archaic mechanics, dated visuals, uninspired artistic direction, unfortunately the game didnt have much going for it.
Luckily, it was followed by another much more successful game: Deny Replicant. Remaster of the Japanese version of NieR released in 2010, NieR Replicant does not just polish the textures, it also revises the combat system to make it more fun, more dynamic, more in line with what was going on. brought Nier: Automata. Retaining the great writing quality and the magnificent compositions of the original version while adding an additional quest loaded with emotions and a more current technical rendering, NieR Replicant amply deserves its place among the best games of the year.
2021 was also the year of the old Final Fantasy with the gradual release of the collection Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, bringing together the first six episodes in slightly reworked versions in order to retain the charm of the original games while adapting them to current high definition media and offering a reorchestration of musical themes. Definitely the Proust madeleine of the year. However, another Final Fantasy has been the subject of much ink this year and not just to speak good of it: Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, improving the PlayStation 4 version and bringing a whole new chapter dedicated to Yuffie. If the version PlayStation 5 was difficult to criticize, its porting to PC via the platform Epic Games Store, did not receive the same praise. Encountering significant technical problems and being sold for 80 €, this port taints the end of the year for the Japanese publisher.Sega and Atlus
If the internal Japanese studios of Sega were not very prolific in 2021, they are all the same at the origin of one of the great games of the year with Lost Judgment. Direct suite from Judgment, itself a spin-off of the popular Yakuza series, Lost Judgment succeeds in doing as well and even better than its predecessor. Taking the mechanics of the first game, it still offers a new combat system and a new district located in Yokohama.
A studio of the group has nevertheless managed to get out of the game and make the news on several occasions: Atlus. In 2021, no less than three games have emerged from its fold. First of all Persona 5 Strikers, the beatem-oriented spin-off up from Person 5. Developed jointly with the studio Omega Force, to whom we owe them Dynasty Warriors and accustomed for a few years to collaborations on popular licenses, Persona 5 Strikers allows us to find our band of heroes in high-powered fights and an adventure as always interesting. 2021 was also the year of the return of its historic Shin Megami Tensei license with two games including the high-definition port of Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne, originally released on PlayStation 2. Successful porting to PlayStation 4 and PC, although quite limited in improvements other than visual, Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne will not please everyone as it is dated on many points and can hardly serve as a gateway for new players, except to use the easy mode unfortunately far too easy . However, it will have mainly served as a springboard for the brand new episode of the series: Shin Megami Tensei V, exclusive to Nintendo Switch. Much more modern in its approach and its mechanics while retaining all that made the charm of the series, Shin Megami Tensei V had been awaited for many years by fans the game having been announced even before the release of the Nintendo Switch , but their patience was rewarded with an episode of great quality largely honoring its predecessors.Others
If the previous studios and publishers were the most important of the year for Japanese video games, the others did not sit idly by. We can notably cite Koei Tecmo who released the very good Atelier Ryza 2, a more ambitious sequel and very well received by the public, as well as another sequel with Blue Reflection: Second Light or the remaster HD horror game Project Zero without forgetting the successful Samurai Warriors 5, although the license is less popular than Dynasty Warriors.
And how to do a retrospective of the Japanese games of 2021 without mentioning Ys IX : Monstrum Nox? New episode of the indefatigable license of Falcom, which crosses the ages without wavering. Or Disgaea 6, who, if he does not upset the recipe, has been able to fulfill his contract.
The fight also had its share of games and not least with mainly Guilty Gear Strive, which set the bar very high with its gameplay with small onions and its incredible realization proving once again the talent of the studio Arc System Works. But that did not prevent the excellent Melty Blood series from offering its latest iteration called Type Lumina and featuring the characters of the two major Type-Moon series namely Fate / Stay night and Tsukihime.And the rest?
The year 2021 was not the busiest in Japanese games, but it remains despite everything a good vintage with some pearls which will have no difficulty in being remembered. J-RPG, beatem up, fighting or adventure games, there is something for everyone.
But now that the year is over, lets look ahead and use these final lines to make a little list of games for 2022:Monster Hunter Rise (portage PC)Captions Pokémon Arceus (Switch)The King of fighters XV (PS4 / PS5 / Series X|S / PC)Elden Ring (PS4 / PS5 / Series X|S / One / PC)Babylon’s Falls (PS4 / PS5 / PC)Gran Turismo 7 (PS4 / PS5)Triangle Strategy (Switch)Stranger of Paradise : Final Fantasy Origin (PS4 / PS5 / Series X|S / One / PC)Advance War 1+2 : Re-boot Camp (Switch)Forspoken (PS5 / PC)
As well as those that still do not have a release date, such as the offline de Dragon Quest X, Digimon Survive, Bayonetta 3, Ghostwire: Tokyo, Grandblue Fantasy: Relink, Sonic Frontiers, Star Ocean: The Divine Force and more. See you next year for a new assessment!